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7 Best Dog Foods for Big Dogs: Eats for XL Pups!

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Dog Food By Meg Marrs 21 min read September 2, 2021 4 Comments

extra large dog food

Got a big dog at home? You probably already know it can be tough to keep his belly full!

But feeding large dogs is more involved than just keeping Spot stuffed — you need to make sure that he gets the nutrition he needs too. And as it turns out, large breeds require slightly different things from a food than small and medium-sized dogs do.

Below, we’ll discuss why big dogs need certain things from their food, and we’ll teach you how to find the best dog food specially designed for large dogs. And just to make things as easy on you as possible, we’ll share a few of our favorite large-breed dog foods.

Let’s jump right in!

Best Dog Foods for Big Dogs: Quick Picks

  • #1 Ollie [Best Overall Food for Big Dogs]: Freshly made from human-grade ingredients, customized for your specific canine, and shipped right to your door, Ollie’s recipes are easily the best choice for most big dog owners — but this kind of crazy-good quality does come at a price.
  • #2 Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult [Best Kibble for Big Dogs]: Chock full of protein, made with nutritious whole grains, and fortified with joint supplements and five probiotic strains, this US-made kibble is a great choice for owners who want the best, but can’t quite afford fresh options.
  • #3 Canidae Chicken & Rice Formula [Best Canned Food for Big Dogs]: One of the few grain-inclusive wet foods around, this canned food is suitable for big dogs of all life stages, and works great as a standalone diet or a tasty topper that’ll help tempt the finickiest of pups.

What Is a “Big” Dog and Why Do Big Dogs Need Special Dog Food?

foods big dogs need

Don’t feel bad if you’ve been feeding your big dog a normal food — many owners are unaware that large and giant dog breeds have special nutritional needs. But let’s help you fix that so you can ensure your big bestie is enjoying a diet that’ll help him live his longest, best life!

For starters, let’s talk about what makes a dog “big.”

Different authorities use different definitions for what constitutes a big dog, but in the context of dog food, “big” dogs are those that will reach or exceed 70 pounds in weight. This includes all the usual suspects, such as:

  • Mastiffs
  • Neapolitan mastiffs
  • German shepherds
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • Great Danes
  • Leonbergers
  • Bernese mountain dogs
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Irish wolfhounds
  • Newfoundlands
  • Saint Bernards
  • Boerboels
  • Presa Canarios
  • Cane corsos
  • Anatolian shepherds

At times, Labrador retrievers (and mixes), golden retrievers (and mixes), and even some pit bull mixes will exceed the 70 pound threshold and join the large and giant breed dog category. So, at the end of the day, you’ll just need to weigh your pooch and act accordingly.

what's special about big breed dog food

Keep in mind that your dog’s ideal weight may be a bit different than his actual weight, if he’s carrying around a few extra pounds. So, if your dog is right at the 70-pound threshold, be sure to ask your vet whether a large-breed dog food is appropriate.

But now that you know your dog’s size means he needs a special food, the question is “why?”

In a nutshell, big dogs have special nutritional requirements because their size presents special challenges small and medium dogs don’t face.

The exact challenges large size causes are varied, but the most notable issue is that their bulk puts an enormous strain on their bones and joints.

Accordingly, large and giant breed dogs need a food that provides the proper mix of minerals and has an appropriate caloric density (which is lower than that most other dogs need).

This will help keep your dog at a healthy weight and reduce the stress on his skeletal system. It’ll also help them avoid the other problems associated with canine obesity.

Many big dogs also thrive best with a diet that’s slightly lower in fat content and fortified with things like glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints.

Fortunately, foods designed for large breed dogs address these issues by using slightly altered nutritional profiles (more on this later).

Busy Owner Pro-Tip: Just Pick a Food Designed for Large-Breed Dogs

We’ll talk in more detail about the nutritional differences between dog foods made for big dogs and those made for other pooches.

But you don’t have to worry about this if you don’t want to!

Just stick to foods specifically formulated for large breeds and you can ignore all of the nutritional nerdery.

For the record, all of the seven foods listed below are perfectly suitable for your big ‘ol pooch.

The Seven Best Dog Foods For Big Dogs

best foods for big dogs

Now let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the best dog foods for large dogs — we hope your hound is hungry!

1. Ollie

About: Ollie Dog Foods are premium, human-grade meals that come packed with the kind of protein and produce your giant fur friend needs. Delicious, nutritious, and made in the USA, these meals tick off just about every box a large-breed dog owner could want.

Ollie also wins in the convenience department, as their meals are not only easy to serve and store (they even come with a nifty leftover container) but they’re also shipped fresh-frozen to your doorstep.

Best Overall Dog Food for Big Dogs

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Ollie

Ollie

A fresh, human-grade dog food that’s custom-formulated for your specific pet and shipped fresh-frozen to your door.

Features:

  • Ollie foods are made with human-grade ingredients in a USDA certified kitchen
  • All recipes are vet-formulated and customized for your specific pet
  • Real, whole meat is the number one ingredient in all recipes
  • You can choose from four different base recipes (beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb)
  • The ingredients used are minimally processed
  • The meals are shipped fresh-frozen to your door
  • Leftovers aren’t a problem thanks to the included storage container
  • You can easily make adjustments to your subscription on Ollie’s website

Ingredients List

Lamb, lamb liver, butternut squash, kale, chickpeas...,

cranberries, potato, chia seeds, dicalcium phosphate, iodized salt, calcium carbonate, zinc gluconate, taurine, vitamin E supplement, iron sulfate, calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), potassium iodate, manganese gluconate, thiamine hydrochloride, folic acid

Pros

  • Most dogs go absolutely crazy for the taste of this fresh food. Seriously — dogs love these foods.
  • Many owners note improvements in things like coat condition, energy level, and pooping habits after switching to Ollie.
  • These foods are all customized for your pet, rather than being formulated for dogs of varying breeds, sizes, and lifestyles.

Cons

  • As is the case with all fresh foods, Ollie is very pricey and you must enroll in their subscription service.
  • These fresh foods aren’t especially easy to take with you while traveling.
  • Ollie and other fresh foods aren’t ideal for owners who serve dinner in puzzle toys (they do, however, work great with LickiMats).
K9 of Mine Hands-On Testing

My dog Remy and I had the chance to try these foods out, so be sure to read our hands-on review of Ollie!

(Spoiler alert: We loved it.)

2. Just Food For Dogs

About: If you like the idea of fresh foods for Fido but you’re not sure about committing to a full subscription, Just Food For Dogs is the perfect option.

These human-grade, fresh foods are similar in many respects to Ollie and other popular fresh food options, but you aren’t required to sign up for a subscription service to get your hands on them. This makes it easy to dip your toes into the fresh-food waters and see how well they work for your pet.

Just Food for Dogs has a couple of other things that help the brand stand out from the fresh-food crowd. For starters, all of their foods are made in open-to-the-public kitchens throughout the United States, and they also offer six different base recipes, which is more than most other fresh food manufacturers offer.

Best No-Subscription-Required Fresh Food for Big Dogs

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Just Food for Dogs

High-quality, fresh-frozen dog foods that can be purchased on a one-off basis, making them great for trying out fresh foods.

Features:

  • Just Food for Dogs recipes meet AAFCO and National Research Council standards
  • All of the recipes offered are made exclusively from whole food ingredients 
  • No subscription necessary — you can buy one box of food at a time
  • Just Food for Dogs lets you choose from 6 different base recipes
  • Base recipes are customized for your dog’s age, activity level, size, and other traits
  • The staff veterinary team can customize the food to address your dog’s health needs
  • Owners close to Irvine, CA or New Castle, DE can see the foods being made

Ingredients List

Ground venison, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberries...,

safflower oil, Icelandic fish oil, JustFoodForDogs Nutrient Blend

Pros

  • Pet parents love the transparency of this company, the simplicity of the recipes, and the quality of the ingredients used. 
  • Many owners noted improvements in things like energy level, coat condition, and pooping habits after switching to these foods.
  • This brand gives you the chance to test out fresh food without having to commit to a subscription plan.

Cons

  • Like all fresh foods, Just Food for Dogs recipes are very expensive.
  • Just Food for Dog’s shipping times can be a bit longer than those of some other fresh brands — particularly for pooch parents who don’t live close to the commercial kitchens. 
  • Half of their recipes are grain-free, but owners who want grain-inclusive options still have three different base recipes to choose from.
The Best Kibble for Big Dogs: A REALLY Close Call

Having already covered our two favorite fresh food options for large dogs, we can turn our attention to more mainstream options, like kibble.

But identifying the very best kibble for big dogs wasn’t easy.

Three different manufacturers — Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Nutro — all produce very high-quality dry dog foods, and quickly rose to the top of our list.

But trying to pick the best of the three wasn’t easy, as they’re all very similar foods, which satisfy the majority of criteria we consider when picking a dog food.

And honestly, any of the three will likely work well for your big ‘ol pupper.

However, when we apply the strictest scrutiny we can, we picked Blue Buffalo as the best of the three, followed by Wellness and then Nutro.

  • Blue Buffalo and Wellness are very similar formulas, which are both fortified with probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin. However, of the two recipes we compared directly, Wellness contains two different types of protein — chicken and salmon meal — which may cause issues for dogs with food allergies. This was enough to put Blue Buffalo ahead of Wellness, but both are still very impressive foods.
  • Nutro lacks the probiotics the other two provide, and it isn’t directly fortified with glucosamine or chondroitin. It’s still a great food and may be the best choice for your specific pet, but these absences do cause it to fall behind the other two options.

As always, talk to your vet, consider your dog’s specific needs, and don’t be afraid to make a switch later if the food you choose doesn’t work well for your pupper!

3. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Formula

About: Blue Buffalo’s Fish and Oatmeal Recipe is a fantastic option for owners seeking a kibble for their big dog. Made in the USA, available in several different protein options, and very reasonably priced, this grain-inclusive dog food is a great starting point for most owners.

Blue Buffalo’s large breed formulas are made with the same high-quality ingredients that characterize most other Blue Buffalo formulas, but they also incorporates a few nutritional “extras” — like supplemental chondroitin and glucosamine — that’ll specifically help your gigantic canine.

These foods are also packed with a few general bells and whistles, including antioxidants to support immune function, omega-3-rich ingredients to fight inflammation, and five different probiotic strains to encourage good elimination habits.

Best Kibble for Big Dogs

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Blue Buffalo Large Breed Food

Blue Buffalo Large Breed

A nutritious, US-made kibble that is designed for big dogs and fortified with antioxidants, probiotics, and joint supplements.

Features:

  • Whole proteins top every one of the large breed formula recipes
  • This food contains glucosamine and chondroitin to promote healthy joints
  • Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients
  • Grain-inclusive formula helps protect your peace of mind
  • These foods feature Blue Buffalo’s antioxidant-packed “LifeSource Bits”
  • Fortified with probiotics for digestive health
  • This premium kibble is made without corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors
  • Available with your choice of lamb, chicken, or fish (detailed here)

Ingredients List

Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Oatmeal, Barley, Brown Rice...,

Pea Starch, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Potato Starch, Pea Protein, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil (source of EPA-Eicosapentaenoic acid), Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Salt, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, DL-Methionine, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Chondroitin Sulfate, Garlic, L-Carnitine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Turmeric, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Copper Sulfate, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary. 

Pros

  • Many owners noted improvements in things like coat condition and pooping habits after switching to this food.
  • It’s a reasonably priced dog food that makes a good alternative to fresh foods for budget-limited owners.
  • This recipe is fortified with joint-supporting supplements, omega-3s, and probiotics, and it’s specifically designed for large-breed dogs.

Cons

  • Though this recipe is tasty, no kibble can match the lip-smackin’ love most dogs display for fresh foods.
  • While most dogs appear to like the taste of this food, some seem to pick around the nutritious “LifeSource Bits.” 
  • A couple of dogs with sensitive stomachs didn’t respond well to this kibble, but that can happen with any dog food.

4. Wellness Large Breed Formula

About: As mentioned, this premium kibble from Wellness is a great option for most big dogs, and it would be easy to argue that it’s better than Blue Buffalo’s large breed offering. Simply put, they’re both among the best large breed dog foods available.

Featuring all of the things that big dog owners want in a food, Wellness’ Complete Health Large Breed is made with premium proteins, fortified with joint supplements to keep your pup running around like you want to see. Additionally, this recipe is packed with fiber and supplemented with four probiotic strains to keep his digestive tract performing like it should.

And just as important as the things this food includes are the things it leaves out. Specifically, this Wellness formula is made without any meat by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives. 

Best Kibble for Big Dogs [Runner Up]

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Wellness Large Breed

A nutritious, US-made, multi-protein kibble that’s designed for big dogs and features joint supplements and probiotics.

Features:

  • A premium kibble featuring two high-quality proteins at the top of the ingredient list
  • Utilizes healthy and tasty whole grains to supply the food’s carbohydrate content
  • Fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health
  • Made without corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors
  • Made in the USA with globally sourced ingredients
  • Packed with fiber and four different probiotic strains to support digestive function
  • Appropriate for all life stages

Ingredients List

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas...,

Oats, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Meal, Tomato Pomace, Oatmeal, Tomatoes, Carrots, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Choline Chloride, Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root Extract, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Garlic Powder, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.
. 

Pros

  • Most dogs appear to love the taste of this kibble.
  • Because it’s formulated for all life stages, you can use this food throughout your dog’s entire life, from puppyhood to his senior days.
  • This recipe includes several helpful supplements — including, most notably, chondroitin and glucosamine — to support your big buddy’s bones and joints.

Cons

  • While more affordable than fresh options, this is a relatively pricey dry food. 
  • Some owners found that the smell of the kibble lingered in their dog’s breath.
  • It contains both chicken- and salmon-based proteins, which may cause problems for dogs with food allergies.

5. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed

About: Another worthy contender in the discussion about the best foods for big dogs, this lamb and rice kibble from Nutro definitely deserves consideration. We ultimately placed it *this much* below Blue Buffalo and Wellness, but you may decide it is the best of the three for your specific pooch.

This formula features multiple protein sources, it’s packed with antioxidant-rich produce, and it includes fiber-rich whole-grain carbohydrates, which makes this one of the most nutritious dog foods on the market. And it even includes glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health for your large-breed dog.

Finally, this food is made in the USA, so you can be sure your canine companion is getting a safe, high-quality meal. 

Best Kibble for Big Dogs [Runner Up]

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NUTRO Natural Choice Large Breed

A high-quality kibble that’s made in the USA, specifically designed for large breed dogs, and fortified with joint supplements.

Features:

  • Two proteins are found at the top of the ingredient list
  • Made with nutritious whole grains, and without corn, wheat, or soy
  • Fortified with chondroitin- and glucosamine-rich chicken meal
  • Made in the USA with non-GMO ingredients
  • Contains kale, spinach, and pumpkin to provide additional antioxidants and fiber
  • Available in two different versions: lamb (detailed here) and chicken.
  • Suitable for adult dogs

Ingredients List

Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Grain Brown Rice, Split Peas, Whole Grain Sorghum...,

Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Whole Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Chia Seed, Dried Coconut, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Dried Pumpkin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
. 

Pros

  • Owners were impressed with the quality of this food given its affordable price tag. 
  • Most dogs seemed to love the taste of this nutritious kibble.
  • The use of non-GMO ingredients is a big plus for some owners.

Cons

  • This food gave some dogs minor, temporary digestive issues, but that can happen with any food. 
  • Although salmon is a great protein source, its inclusion means this multi-protein food may not be a great choice for dogs with food allergies.
  • Unlike some other, similar kibbles, this one is made without probiotics.

6. IAMS Proactive Health

About: While the foods discussed above are all fantastic options, they are all at the higher end of the dog food price spectrum — even the kibbles. But budget-limited owners don’t have to compromise on their pet’s health and well-being. You just need to pick a good food that’s priced within your budget.

And this super affordable kibble from IAMS will fit that bill for most four-footed families.

No, IAMS Proactive Health does not boast all of the nutritional bonuses many more expensive formulas do, but it’s a grain-inclusive food that features real chicken at the top of the ingredient list. And this means it’ll provide the kind of nutrition your dog needs, while also pleasing his palate (which is actually really important for your pet’s overall quality of life).

Most Affordable Food for Big Dogs

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IAMS large breed dog food

IAMS Proactive Health

A nutritious, affordable, grain-inclusive kibble that’s made in the USA and designed to keep your big dog healthy.

Features:

  • Whole chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain-inclusive formula contains three different whole grains
  • Contains prebiotic fiber to help encourage the development of beneficial bacteria
  • Made without any artificial flavors or preservatives
  • This food is made in the USA from globally sourced ingredients

Ingredients List

Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal...,

Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Carrot, Flaxseed, Caramel Color, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract
. 

Pros

  • Owners — especially those with big, expensive-to-feed dogs — appreciated this affordable dog food’s price tag.
  • Most dogs seemed to love the taste of this food.
  • While it is a budget-priced food that cuts a few corners, it still contains real chicken right at the top of the ingredient list.

Cons

  • This food contains a few ingredients that are harmless, yet objectionable to some owners, such as chicken by-products and corn.
  • Although the packaging states that it contains chondroitin and glucosamine, neither appears on the ingredient list (they’re likely claiming that they are present in the chicken by-products).
  • No probiotics appear in the recipe.

7. Canidae Wet Food

About: Wet foods aren’t as popular as they once were, but they’re still the best option for many pups. In fact, they’re often so doggo-delicious that some pups demand them!

It will cost you a bit of cash to feed a large breed dog a solely canned diet, but it’ll still likely cost less than it would to feed your pet a fresh diet. You can also consider using wet foods as toppers to make a dry kibble more appealing.

The biggest problem with canned foods is that they’re rarely made with grains and few are formulated to be appropriate for large-breed dogs. Fortunately, this canned food from CANIDAE satisfies both of these criteria, making it a great choice for your big ‘ol fur baby. It’s also packed with chicken and made with flavor enhancing broth and liver to keep your pup coming back for more.

Best Canned Food for Big Dogs

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CANIDAE Dog food

Canidae Wet Food

A grain-inclusive, protein-packed canned food that’s designed for big dogs and made in the USA without corn, wheat and soy.

Features:

  • One of the few grain-inclusive wet foods on the market
  • Made in the USA, unlike many other canned options
  • Whole chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains Omega-3-rich salmon oil to combat inflammation
  • Dried cranberries are included for antioxidants and extra flavor 
  • Probiotics help support proper digestion

Ingredients List

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Brown Rice...,

Pearled Barley, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sunflower Oil, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Agar-agar, Choline Chloride, Canola Oil, Dried Kelp, Dried Cranberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Iron Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.
. 

Pros

  • Most dogs simply love the way this canned food tastes.
  • It’s one of the few grain-inclusive canned foods available.
  • The increased water content of this food can be helpful for dogs who’re poor drinkers.
  • Can also be used as a topper to make your dog’s current kibble tastier.

Cons

  • This food lacks a lot of the “extras” other foods contain, such as probiotics or an assortment of fruits and vegetables.
  • Feeding you dog a canned-only diet is generally more expensive than sticking to kibble.
  • Wet food can be difficult to portion out and store, and refrigeration is required for the leftovers. 
Big Puppies Need Special Food Too!

Keep in mind that large breed dogs reach huge sizes very quickly, which presents additional biological challenges. So, if you’re woofer is still young, be sure to pick on one of the best large-breed puppy foods to get him started on the right paw.

Picking a Good Food for Any Dog: Things to Look For

things to look for in dog food

Picking a food for your super-sized pet is essentially the same as it is for those with pint-sized pooches, with a few small caveats. We’ll start by explaining the things you’ll want in any food, and then in the next section, we’ll talk more about the specific needs of large dogs.

Check out our comprehensive guide to choosing a dog food when you get a chance, but we’ll highlight some of the key points below:

  • You should always pick a food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage and size.
  • You should always pick a food that addresses any specific health concerns your dog suffers from (for example, your pooch may need a hypoallergenic dog food if he has food allergies).
  • You should always discuss your choice with your vet before starting on a new diet.

Heed these recommendations, and you’ll be 90% of the way there — most modern mainstream dog foods are pretty darn nutritious.

But to drill down further and select the very best food for your pet, you can start considering things like:

You’ll no doubt notice that most of the foods we recommend above satisfy most of these requirements.

Picking the Best Dog Food for Your Big Dog: Size-Related Concerns

picking the best food for your dog

As mentioned, there’s a bit more to picking a food for a large breed dog than there is to picking a food for a small or medium dog — primarily because of the specific health needs we mentioned at the outset.

Essentially, foods designed for large breed dogs should meet the following criteria:

  • Large breed dog foods should have slightly less fat than foods designed for small or medium-sized dogs.
  • Large breed dog foods should have slightly lower caloric densities than typical dog foods.
  • Large breed dog foods need slightly different calcium and phosphorus levels than foods for smaller dogs have.

But — you don’t have to worry about that!

You only need to select a food that is specifically designed for large breed dogs (those who’ll reach 70 pounds or more).

And guess what? All seven of the large breed dog foods discussed above meet these requirements.

Other Things to Look For in a Food for Big Dogs

While they’re not requirements per se, it can also be wise to look for three other things when picking a food for your big dog:

  • Joint-supporting supplements. Arthritis and other joint problems are quite common in large-breed dogs, so look for foods fortified with things like glucosamine and chondroitin to help ensure long-term joint health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help to do a lot of things for your dog’s body, including promote good coat condition, but most important in the case of large dogs, they help to reduce inflammation.
  • Large kibble pieces. Many large-breed dogs are susceptible to bloat and gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), so it’s important to ensure they eat slowly. Large kibble pieces may help convince your canine to take his time while chowing down.

Choosing the Best Large-Breed Dog Food For YOUR Dog

We’ve spent a lot of ink above highlighting some of the best large-breed dog foods for big dogs and explaining some of the things you’ll want to look for when picking the healthiest dog food for your pet.

how to pick food for big dog

However, it is important to understand that all dogs are individuals, and the best dog food for your dog won’t necessarily be the best food for someone else’s dog.

Just as our bodies react differently to different foods, your dog will physically react differently to different types of large-breed dog foods (he also might simply prefer some over others).

Unfortunately, we can’t ask dogs which flavors and ingredients they might like best, so it’s often an exercise of trial and error.

So, as always, you’ll want to start by looking for a food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for your pet’s life stage (which all of the foods listed above should satisfy for adult dogs) and addresses any specific health problems your dog has.

From there, you can just run it by your vet for a quick green light, and start trying it with your pooch (remember to make transitions slowly, over the course of several days).

Take several weeks to test out your chosen recipe and see how your dog reacts. If it doesn’t seem to be working for him, go ahead and try another brand listed here. Eventually you’ll find your dog’s perfect food.

***

What’s your dog’s favorite brand of dog food for big dogs? Have you found one that works particularly well for your four-footer? Are you still searching for the perfect pet food for your doggo?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Rd

What about Blur Wilderness?
Most other site recommend it also

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Meg Marrs

Blue Buffalo Wilderness? Yup, that’s a decent choice too, we just had to limit how many foods we detailed 😉

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Meg Marrs

Hi Colleen. Licking paws can definitely be a sign of allergies, but there’s a good chance your dog is suffering from an environmental allergy, not a good allergy. Environment allergies (dust, ragweed, etc) are much more common than food allergies, so I’d say get your pooch testing at your vet’s office first!

If you want to experiment with new foods, I’d say Wellness Complete is probably the most reputable on the list.

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Colleen

So which one is the best ? Which one do you feed your dogs ? My Dog is on a organic chicken kind from Costco and he has been licking his paws which is a sign of an allergy so what should I switch to ?

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